Stewardship and Sustainability at Marin French 

We’ve been making cheese since 1865. Here’s to another 160 years.

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As California cheesemakers, we feel a deep responsibility towards the unique environment we’re lucky enough to call home. Our beautiful corner of Marin County is as much a part of our cheese as the milk and microbial enzymes; if it changes, so does our cheese. Given our nearly 160-year history of continuous cheesemaking, it’s easy to see why our connection to this land runs so deep—and why we’re committed to doing everything we can to preserve it.

At our creamery, every decision—from big-picture operations all the way down to the plants we chose for our picnic grounds—is made with the future in mind. Here’s how we’re adapting our business to suit a changing climate.

Conserving water, protecting the land 

To say that we take water conservation seriously at Marin French Cheese Co. is an understatement. We’re proud to say that, when it comes to water sourcing, we are 100% self-sufficient: Every drop of water used at Marin French for cheese production and property maintenance comes from ponds on our property, all of which we also treat and make potable onsite. We don’t receive any water from the city or Marin county.

We’ve also worked hard to reduce water usage throughout our production process. In 2023 we installed an improved washing tunnel (for cleaning production equipment) outfitted with a recycling system that’s specifically designed to further reduce our water and chemical usage. All of our recipes and production techniques are optimized to use as little water as possible, and we’ve even populated our picnic grounds with drought-resistant native plants to further reduce water usage.

The entirety of our environment in Marin County, from the fresh coastal air to the soil itself, is a key ingredient in our cheesemaking process. We're lucky to have enough space on our ranch—700 acres’ worth—that we can share the land with local farmers who raise cows, pigs, and chickens. (Another perk for our farmers: The pigs eat the whey created as a by-product of the cheesemaking process.) This farmland is also protected from development, which safeguards it for future generations and keeps the economic benefits close to home. Preserving traditional farming methods not only reduces our use of natural resources and our impact on the environment—we find it also makes for better cheese.

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Preserving natural habitats  

Our creamery and the land it sits on are just two small parts of the wider Marin County ecosystem. Over the years, we’ve worked incredibly hard to make our ranch a safe environment for the plants and animals who call this part of California home. Our grounds provide a protected habitat for the following special-status species:

  • Nesting birds and raptors, including the White-Tailed Kite
  • Western Pond Turtle (the only native freshwater turtle in California)
  • Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog
  • California Giant Salamander

We also recognize the important role that bees play in our ecosystem—and that climate change represents a threat to their continued existence. To help bolster local bee populations, we work with local beekeepers Bonnie Bee & Company, who maintain bee boxes on our property. This fosters a mutually beneficial relationship: The bees pollinate the plants on the ranch, and the honey they produce is sold in our store. True to the old adage—what grows together, goes together—this honey pairs deliciously with our cheese.

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The less packaging, the better 

Although water conservation and habitat protection are top of mind for us in California, our cheese is sold all over the country, which means that we also need to think sustainably when it comes to packing and shipping our products. For us, that means avoiding or reducing plastic—and using compostable materials—wherever we can. The wooden cups we use for the packaging of our 8-ounce classic cheeses (Traditional Brie, Triple Crème Brie, and Camembert) are certified compostable, and we’re working to make further packaging improvements as we speak.

Every part of our business—ingredient selection, the production process, land management on the ranch, and packaging design—represents a process that can be improved. Sustainability isn’t one decision made one time; it’s a series of hundreds (if not thousands) of decisions made day after day, year in and year out. With hard work and a little bit of luck, we’ll still be making delicious cheese for another 160 years.